Healthcare seems to be in the news a lot in recent months, understandably so. Our US healthcare system is a mess. And, I’m not just talking about health insurance, although that is certainly of primary concern.
We seem to be coming to a crossroads in the way we deal with our health in America. Who pays for it is one thing…but who determines what is healthy is quite another. Although nearly everyone agrees that we all need to be eating more fruits and vegetables, how those fruits and vegetables are grown and produced is fodder for some tense disagreement. When our food supply is controlled by the largest pesticide manufacturer in the world, we need to wake up and consider what’s going on here.
My father had a heart attack when I was 14 – a massive one. Circumstances lined up providentially that he got treatment right away or it’s likely he wouldn’t have survived. After that things changed in our kitchen. Salt became the enemy. Butter was replaced with margarine. Bacon was sent packing, fat took a hike, and egg beaters became king. We went along. That was the wisdom back then…but something kept nagging at me.…
I would often ask, “But Mom, what’s in this stuff? How do they make it?” Who really knew? Who even bothered to ask (other than this obnoxious teenager)? It didn’t sit well with me that what was natural and around for centuries would be bad for us, and what was newly created in a laboratory would be good. It just defied logic. But I was a teenager and didn’t spend too much time focusing on it.
Fast forward a few decades to present day and it seems my logic was correct. More and more studies are showing how pesticides, GMO produce, hydrogenated fats, and many other chemicals we’ve been ingesting are hurting us. People are catching on.
When it comes to medications these days, my attitude has greatly changed, as well. I grew up in a medical family. My father, my uncle, and several cousins were doctors. Although my uncle did his training as a general practitioner back in the old days when food was considered medicine and home remedies were known to work quite well, we all slowly adopted the medical model more common today. If you don’t feel well, there’s likely a drug that will help you. I used to joke about how we played “dial-a-drug.” Call a family member, describe your symptoms, and have them call in a prescription. It was an efficient system that served us well…and saved us lots of time waiting at doctors’ offices for the same result. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m talking about things like colds or bronchitis or skin rashes. More serious things required more serious interventions and my family would be the first to tell us that.
For emergency situations medication is a real blessing, but as a way of life it has considerable drawbacks. Because of that I’ve been researching and looking for ways to manage my health in more natural ways. It can seem overwhelming at first. It’s easy to start to feel like you’re fighting your way out of a paper bag. Everything starts to look bad and you can become a little paranoid. So, I’ve learned that it’s best to just take a few basic steps to get started to move into a more natural and healthy way of living.
First step for me is water, the most basic requirement for life and health. Long Island’s water is supplied by underground aquifers. The drawback to that is that all the chemicals and pesticides used for farming, other chemicals, as well as pharmaceuticals wind up in our water. (And that’s not limited to Long Island’s water.)
This is why I’ve always been passionate about having a good water filter. My husband did exhaustive research and we decided on the Berkey Water Filters. These filters are amazing! They take out chlorine, chemicals as well as other biological, and industrial contaminants. (The full list is spelled out in detail on their site.) The filters last for years and best of all they’re portable. No need to drill holes in your countertop and you can take them with you when you move, or even on vacation. SO worth the modest investment! Best of all, the taste is amazing…or should I say the lack of taste. Other popular filters that are widely advertised remove little more than chlorine and popular reverse osmosis systems remove beneficial minerals that can lead to worse health problems. So, in my view, Berkey is the best and most economical option.
The next step was a little more challenging.
How can we manage health issues without relying on medications? Now let me be clear. I don’t oppose all medications, but I do think they are grossly over prescribed. Sometimes they are a necessary blessing. But, I always like to do my due diligence before taking or using anything. I always look up the side effects and weigh the benefits verses the risks. But for most routine matters, I try to look for natural remedies. If they don’t work, then I’ll consider medication. That leads me to my passion for essential oils.
I’ve looked at essential oils for years but felt a little overwhelmed in trying to figure out how to use them. Also, as a Catholic, I was concerned with some of the claims I’ve read about them. Some companies emphasize things like the “vibrational energy” of particular oils and create concoctions that seem to promise magical results. At best this is nonsense and at worst it can open doors to a spiritual realm I don’t want opened, especially when these companies “bless” their oils. This put me off for a long time until I did more research into the scientific studies done on essential oils. Those results convinced me to search further.
Scientific studies show great promise as they isolate and evaluate the various active chemical components in essential oils. Take wintergreen for instance. How many times have you enjoyed the smell of wintergreen in various lotions and rubs that are sold in the drug store? It’s for good reason- they usually contain wintergreen oil. Wintergreen oil primarily contains the active ingredient methyl salicylate, which acts as a natural analgesic, anti-arthritic, antiseptic, and astringent.
Although essential oils may be contained in many over the counter products, these products also often contain chemical compounds that are unhealthy for us. So why take the good with the bad if you can avoid the bad altogether?
When purchasing oils it’s imperative to know that the oils that you are buying are pure, unadulterated, and grown without pesticides. If not, you may find yourself using concentrated pesticides that will certainly not give you the natural healing results you are looking for. After looking into various companies, I decided on DoTerra for several reasons. First is quality and quality control. DoTerra oils are Certified Pure, Therapeutic Grade, which means they are grown without pesticides, sourced from around the world using indigenous plants, and are safe for ingestion, as well as topical or aromatic use. (Not every particular oil can be ingested so always read labels.) Equally important to me is that the company bases it’s claims on scientific research, and not on New Age philosophies that run contrary not only to a Judeo-Christian world view but a truly scientific one as well. Best of all, there is a support network of actual people who are educated to help guide you in the use essential oils safely and responsibly. If you would like to know more about how to use essential oils, call or e mail us for a free consultation and a member of our team would be happy to help you. One of our wellness coaches can also help you map out an individualized wellness plan that includes diet, exercise, and emotional health to help you reach your fullest health potential.
Remember, the bottom line is that God made us and has given us everything we need to be healthy and happy. Original sin affected us and creation but has not destroyed God’s plan of perfection. Let your faith and common sense be your guide.
Allison is also the Founder and President of www.CatholicTherapists.com, a nationwide network of dedicated Catholic therapists.
Latest posts by Allison Ricciardi, LMHC (see all)
- Where is God in the Storms? - September 13, 2017
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- Blundered Again! - July 25, 2017
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